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K-12 Science 2 Schools Traveling Science Programs: Patterns in Nature Van

Program Title:
Patterns in Nature Van
Center for Solid State Science, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ, United States
Geographical Area:
Primarily the Phoenix area, but have done / can do other Arizona locales.
General Description:
The Patterns in Nature (PiN) Van is a mobile microscope laboratory designed to empower students and teachers of Arizona schools (4-12) to appreciate the patterns in nature that exist at a wide range of scales, in different materials, and in unexpected ways. Images from microscopes provide both teachers and students an attractive entrée to integrating science and math. The PiN Van provides opportunities to expose students to microscopy using state-of-the-art microscopes - viz. a high-powered Optical Microscope (OM) with CCD camera, a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and a Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM) generally used by researchers. Using special software these high-powered machines are hooked into computers with full-color monitors, allowing the students the opportunity to manipulate, print and save images they have created with the microscopes. In addition, in order to allow greater student interaction, we also have several lower-powered optical microscopes connected to laptops. This theoretically allows up to 6 students individualized interaction with a microscope (4 optical, 1 SEM, & 1 SPM). Our primary commitment is to aid the education of young students in the areas of science, mathematics and technology by empowering them to design experiments, acquire, create, process, analyze and interpret their own images of interesting materials from the world around us. The Van will expand the traditional imaging resources in the science laboratories of most schools. A necessary and critical step to impact students is the additional value of the van as a professional development opportunity for teachers. The proposed project will leverage the current infrastructure and expertise to assist in maintaining and expanding a network between scientists, teachers and students.

Current standard format is dividing each class into 3 groups. One group visits the Van, one group visits the supplementary activities educator, and the third remains with the teacher. The groups switch every 1/3 class period so everyone get a chance to see the van. This format is dictated by the current limited seating in the Van of 7-12 students.

For more information, contact Kenneth Mossman at (480)-965-0919 or
Area of Science:
Microscopy, physics, mathematics, biology, engineering/technology
Target Grade Levels:
Nominally K-12 but realistically 4-12.
Target Group Size:
Up to consumer - have done everything from a classroon to an entire district. Up to 30 students divided into three groups
Unless specifically worked out beforehand, cost is $150/day.

The information contained in this page is accurate as of July, 2003.